|Graze the Fence, Alstead, NH|
Earlier this week I hung a show of New England photography at the Restaurant at Burdicks in Walpole New Hampshire. Burdicks has always been one of my favorite exhibition locations and with the holiday spirit all around it is a great time to be offering the work. Burdicks is an elegant restaurant with excellent french inspired cuisine in the heart of beautiful historic Walpole. In a previous article I explored the desirable qualities of the perfect exhibition site which includes, good lighting, a flexible hanging system and an attentive audience, and Burdicks fulfills many of theses attributes.
Restaurants that encourage relaxed dining provide an atmosphere which is conducive to looking up from the food and, at the risk of sounding pretentious, Burdicks seems to attract customers who are more likely notice and appreciate the art on the walls. I have nothing against a busy pizza parlor, but in those venues my concern is less about a beautiful display of my images and more about keeping the the pictures high enough to avoid being splattered by cheese and beer.
|Orchard Wall, Dublin, NH|
I hate pounding nails into crumbling plaster. Burdicks has a nice hanging system that allows easy adjustment of the pictures for uniform spacing and height. From the restaurant's perspective, hanging systems such as this require an initial expense, but they are simple to install, allow neat professional displays and, perhaps most importantly, avoid the periodic need for costly repairs to the walls. I am still amazed by how many venues still allow artist to damage their walls with haphazard and insecure nails.
Let There Be Light
The one problem with the Burdicks has always been the lighting. This is a common difficulty in restaurants, that try to maintain a dark romantic atmosphere illuminated by candles, and leaving the walls in murky shadow. Burdicks attracts some wonderful art to its wall. It is an important part of the decor and to hide it is a disservice to the artists as well as to the patrons (see below). I have long argued that spots casting focused light on the walls could enhance the interest and beauty of the environment without intruding on the soft ambiance at the tables.
|Romantic Dining Low Light of Previous Show|
|Onward, Chesterfield, NH|
For this show there has been an improvement in this issue. The restaurant has been recently remodeled and, at least for the holidays, sparking lights, attached to networks of branches have been suspended from the ceiling. The effect is festive and provides a modest general increase in illumination which I think may be continued after the holidays. It is improvement, but a few spots would make an amazing difference.
Choosing the Show
|Multnomah Falls, Oregon|
Selecting images for any show is always a struggle. I rely on lists from previous exhibitions to give me an idea of about how many pictures will be needed and then I bring about 50% more than seems necessary. I have displayed my work at Burdicks four or five times so I knew I needed between 12 and 14 pictures. I wanted to show only new images and it was a great opportunity to work on prints of some of my more recent work. I ended up printing 5 new pictures and framing another that had been previously matted.
|Super Moon, Saybrook Lighthouse|
I'm not sure that it was a clear intention, but the images are mostly of recent autumn color in our region. Two prominent exceptions are the image of the majestic full "super" moon rising behind the Saybrook Lighthouse in Old Saybrook Connecticut and the mystical Multnomah double waterfall along Oregon's Columbia River valley. I alway agonize about the pictures I have to leave out from a show, but in the end I was very pleased with selections and how they fit into the wall space.
|Giant Sugar Maple, Guilford, Vermont|
Of Course It Comes Down To the Food AND the Chocolate
|Burdicks Chocolates Cafe|
|Ashuelot Floaters, Keene, NH|
So if you are near Walpole during this month, drop by Burdicks for great food, amazing deserts, and of course, spectacular photography. The hours for the restaurant and chocolate are listed below. Both are well worth the trip
For more pictures of Burdicks and the full show, check out the gallery on my New England Reflections web site:
Restaurant at Burdicks Show
is available at the Walpole Grocery, right next door.